Science fiction survey

Science fiction survey

Science Fiction Survey 450 SCIENCE DENNIS John FICTION SURVEY LIVINGSTON M. Logsdon, The Decision to Go to the Moon: Project ApoE and the ~a...

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Science Fiction Survey








M. Logsdon,

The Decision to Go

to the Moon: Project ApoE and the ~at~o~a~ interest (187 pages, $3.95, Chicago Chicago





Press, 1976)

George S. Robinson, Living in Outer Space (119 pages, $6, Washington, DC, Public US








Future Space Programs 1975, 3 volumes (Hearings, 356 pages, $3.20; A Compilation of Papers, 983 pages, $7.60; Report, 68 pages, 95#; all from ~~ashington, Science


and Technology,




1975) Suddenly, it seems, outer space is back. For the community of science fiction fans, of course, space never went away; it has been the background for many stories, the lure for adventure across time and the galaxies, the setting for the spread of humanity’s foibles and heroisms. But for the public at large, factual activities in space have had a low profile indeed in recent years. Now, however, interest is picking up, perhaps from a combination of factors such as the Viking Mars landing, the media attention on the concepts of space cotonisation and industrialisation as an aspect of the limit-to-growth debate, steady progress toward the re-usable space shuttle and its spacelab module, and the realisation of the practical benefits already at hand from applications satellites, particularly for co~unications and remote sensing. Dr Livingston is a member of the Department of History and Political Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12181, USA.

A spate of books reflects this interest and should be highly relevant both to science fiction readers and to academics concerned with the interaction of science, big technology, and public policy. John Logsdon’s case study of Project Apollo is a welcome paperback reprint of a book first published in 1970. The larger theme of the book is ‘

October 1076


Science Fiction Survey

itary and civilian agencies, the opposition of many scientists, and other aspects of the decision-making process that, not incidentally, prove most interesting to anyone anticipating when or how a decision to launch a space colony might be made. Anyone committed to space travel as a means to make us all Earthpeople (pace Star Trek) will not miss the irony that practical steps toward this dream have been founded on the traditional dynamics of national competition and sovereignty. In any case, we are now between skylab and the space shuttle, and serious thought is being given to the conditions under which people might live for long durations in habitats located on other worlds or in space itself. George Robinson has provided a short and stimulating (but overpriced) book filled with provocative observations, dicta, suggestions, and random thoughts on the relationship between legal structures and the alien environments of space habitats. His working premise is that law stems from a cultural value system which in turn is embedded in an ecological/physiological context. Space societies will evolve their own such contexts and, therefore, familiar terran legal and moral concepts such as negligence and fault, homicide, responsibility, and vengence will be inapplicable to space dwellers. Over time, the latter will become a separate cultural



F. Lee Brown and A. 0. Lebeck, Cars, Cans, and Dumbs: Solution for Rural Residuals (Baltimore and London, The Johns Hopkins University Press for Resources for the Future, 1976), 206 pages, L9.05. E. H. Carr, A History of Soviet Russia, Foundations of a Planned Economy 1926-1929, volume 2 (Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1976), 548 pages, E3.00, $5.95. Congressional research service, for subcommittee on environment and atmosphere, Long-range Plannine (Washington, DC, US Government Printing bffice, May.l976), 487 pages. Congressional research service, for subcommittee on fisheries and wildlife conservation and the environment, Computer Simulation Methodr to


October 1976

species, who must be allowed to develop their own modes of relationships with each other and with Earth. Robinson also has much to say about the design of space colonies, including manipulation of the genetic, social, and architectural environment to cope with territoriality, competition, boredom, and other intercultural differences, potential stresses, drawing upon experiences already available from experiments with living in closed environments. The book is marred by a marked mechanistic, socio-engineering slant, the biological terms used are not always understandable, and the author tends to skip disjointedly from point to point, but it is still well worth reading. The committees of the US Congress most concerned with space are doing their share in reviving public interest, one result being the hearings and associated documents issued by the House Committee on Science and Technology. A mine of information is available here, especially the testimony of Gerard O’Neill on space colonies, a National Research Council study on “Practical applications of space sysand NASA’s account of its tems”, “Outlook for space” study, all in the Hearings volume; and a series oflengthy papers (including a visionary look at space industry by Krafft Ehricke) in the Papers volume. Space enthusiasts should have this set.

(continued from page 437) Aid JVatural Growth Policies (Washington, DC, US Government Printing Office, 1975). 480 pages, $4.15. Kurt Dopfer, Economics in the Future: Towardr a Jvezv Paradiem (London, Macmillan, 1976). 123 pages, x7.95 cloth, .L2.95 paper. ‘. F. J. Ebling, ed, Racial Variation in Man (London, Institute of Biology, 1975), 245 pages, g9.50. Baruch A. Hazan, Soviet Propaganda: a Case Study of the Middle East Conflict (New Brunswick, New Jersey, Transaction Books, 1976), 293 pages, $12.95 cloth. Robert G. Healy, Land Use and the States (Baltimore and London, The Johns Hopkins University Press for Resources for the Future, 1976), 233 pages, E7.00 cloth, L2.05 paper. I